The Wish List - What I Have Always Wanted Is




Staircase P (Level 1-4), Architecture Landing (Level 4), The John Madejski Garden

V&A Commission

Ten emerging designers create the object they have always wanted. ‘The Wish List’ celebrates sustainable design and the power of craftsmanship, brought together by the American Hardwood Export Council and Benchmark Furniture for London Design Festival 2014.

In a collaborative fusion of design experience, young talent and craftsmanship, Sir Terrence Conran and Benchmark Furniture teamed up with the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) to invite ten illustrious names in design and architecture to each nominate an emerging talent to collaborate on a very open brief: "What have you always wanted in your home, but never been able to find?"

While open to interpretation, the one restriction was that each project must be produced in a single material - American hardwood. All of the items were crafted during one intense 'making week' at Benchmark's Berkshire workshops in July. "I can't think of any other material that could be used to create such an eclectic mix of products and render each one beautiful and unique," said David Venable, European Director of AHEC. 

Each design was, as expected, unique and esoteric. Sebastian Cox designed a "cocoon like" desk with cabinet space for Sir Terence Conran, co-founder of Benchmark, while Norie Matsumoto was charged by Norman Foster to create the perfect wooden pencil sharpener. Win Assakul created an extendable wooden bowl for fruit or cheese inspired by traditional African designs for Amanda Levete; and Studio Areti designed three items for John Pawson's farm in Gloucestershire: a slanted door, a triangle shelf and hook. 

Meanwhile, Felix de Pass designed a kitchen stool for Alison Brooks ("the most popular seat in the house"), Gareth Neil made two CNC cut vessels for Zaha Hadid and Nathalie de Leval built a shed for Sir Paul Smith. "The shed is 3m x 3m, the same size as my first ever shop in Nottingham," said Smith. "Completely coincidentally, matisse's famous cut-out, The Snail, is exactly the same size."

Barnby & Day fashioned a "beautiful large round laminated dining table" for Alex de Rijke; Xenia Moseley made a ladder "from which to wonder and wallow" for Richard and Ab Rogers; and Lola Lely designed a chaise longue for Allen Jones, inspired by legendary art collector Peggy Guggenheim "and her mischievous nature". 

London Design Festival at the V&A

The London Design Festival at the V&A

For 2017, the Festival will continue its unique collaboration with the world’s leading Museum of art, design and performance. As the central hub location for the London Design Festival for the eighth year, the V&A will again house a broad range of commissioned activity which will be spread throughout the Museum and include installations, events, talks and workshops.

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